I'm really concerned about how real a possibility it is that we switch to a 3-4. I mean, everyone wanted Ray Horton (rightfully so he had a very good D in Arizona) but at least in the short term, I don't think it matters how good the DC is if he runs a 3-4. We already have enough holes as it is in the secondary to fill and for as poor as the dline was at getting after the quarterback last season, we still have some good young talent, suited for the 4-3 that we've invested a lot in. Fletcher Cox could play in either system so I'm not too concerned about him but having to change from playing with your hand in the ground to playing in space and rushing as on outside linebacker, or vice versa is a big big change and hard to do. Especially if all you've ever done is one or the other. Jimmy talks about this in regards to DeMarcus Ware over at Blogging the BEast
I wasnt too sure about Vinny Curry since he barely played last season so looked up some scouting reports from before the draft ( Report 1,Report 2, Report 3) All three articles say he could convert to 3-4 outside linebacker but the third one says,
if 4-3 teams are willing to overlook his less than ideal size, they'll certainly be happy with Curry's natural pass rush skills and high-revving motor.
I don't quite see how Curry is undersized since he's taller than Graham and only weighs a couple pounds less so I wouldn't say he's an undersized 4-3 end. We all know Jenkins can play 3-4 end but there's doubts to whether he'll be here next year. Cole has played in a 4-3 his whole career so may not transition well to playing in space especially now that he's hit the 30 mark and I think it would be a mistake to take one of the best 4-3 ends in the game (bar last season) and move him to a new position and Graham just started to become the player we hoped he would be so why potentially hinder his development by moving him to a completely new position.
Finally the linebackers. We all know DeMeco's story although in fairness it made sense to play Brian Cushing over him when they went to one linebacker. However, he had a very good season last year and showed us something we haven't seen at the linebacker position in a long time and I couldn't find stats for the end of the season but midway through December he was the best tackling linebacker in the league. I'm assuming Mychal Kendricks would play in the middle with DeMeco and would probably get on fine acting as the WILL linebacker in a 3-4 with DeMeco taking on blockers as the MIKE leaving Kendricks with space to run about and make plays which he obviously has the athleticism to do. (source for 3-4 ILB: http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4724847/scouts-notebook-3-4-lbs )
Overall, I think switching to a 3-4 would be a mistake because we'd be giving ourselves more holes to fill on top of the awful secondary that we have at the minute. Trent Cole has played in a 4-3 his whole career, Vinny Curry played 4-3 in college, Brandon Graham 4-3 in College. None of them have experience of rushing and playing in space. Now according to the scouting reports Curry could be just fine in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker but why take the risk after investing a 2nd round pick in him with the aim of him being a 4-3 end after also investing a 1st in Graham as a 4-3 end. Not an outside linebacker. Also, although Cox would be fine as a 3-4 end I would much rather him potentially become one of the most dominant 4-3 DT's in the league than a good or great 3-4 end. I would much rather use our 1st on Dee Milner (If Joeckle) is off the board than have to use it on Star to be our NT because we would have no one else to play NT other than Dixion who I wouldn't exactly hang my hat on.
Thanks for reading. Please comment and give your opinion.
UPDATE: Fixed the blockquote sorry for any inconvenience